Staff for Summer 2019 is continually being updated!
Ben Kessler, Director of NSD Public Forum
Ben Kessler debated for Stuyvesant High School and earned 15 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he semifinaled. Ben also championed the Blake Tournament, the George Mason Invitational, the Columbia Invitational, and the NCFL Grandnational Championship. Since graduating, Ben has coached teams from Hunter High School in New York. In 3 years, his teams have cumulatively amassed 27 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where 2 of his teams have advanced to the octafinal round. His teams have also championed the New York City Invitational, Columbia Invitational, Princeton Invitational, and Villiger Invitational, been invited to the Harvard Round Robin 5 times, and been ranked in the top 10 in the country every year he’s coached.
Dakota Champagne is a graduating senior at the Packer Collegiate Institute where she co-founded the forensics program. In her three years of debating, Dakota has advanced to elimination rounds at various national tournaments, and in her senior year, Dakota co-championed the Westchester Classic, qualified to the TOCs, and reached quarters at the NCFL. Dakota attended NSD as a student and is excited to return this summer as an instructor!
Kayla Chang attended Newton South in MA where she was a co-captain of the debate team. As a debater, she advanced to out rounds at tournaments like Princeton, GMU, Columbia, and Lex, notably octafinaling at Harvard, finaling at UPenn, and championing Massachusetts States. Kayla is currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley and has since worked as an assistant coach at the Nueva School, where her students have reached late out rounds at tournaments like the UK Season Opener and the Cal Invitational.
Ilana Cuello-Wolffe debated for the Dalton School for three years. She qualified to the Tournament of Champions my junior and senior year, reaching out rounds her senior year. Ilana reached elimination rounds at many national circuit tournaments, including the New York Invitational, Princeton, Harvard, Ridge, and many others. She quarterfinaled at the New York State Championship her senior year. Ilana received many speaker awards including third speaker at Princeton, Ridge, Villiger, and top speaker at the Byram Hills Invitational and the Westridge Round Robin. Additionally, she qualified for the NSDA National Tournament her senior year. She is very excited to work at NSD this summer!
Caden competed in PF for four years at Strake Jesuit. He has received 7 career bids, reaching late elimination rounds at tournaments such as Bellaire, Laird Lewis, Grapevine, Plano West, and TFA State and clearing at Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and many other tournaments. Most notably, Caden and his partner RJ were the first team from Texas to qualify to the TOC three times in a row. Caden will be a freshman in Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin next year and he is excited to work at NSD this summer.
Malcolm was co-captain of the debate team at Newton South High School in Massachusetts. As a debater, he championed the Bronx Round Robin, finished second the Harvard Round Robin, finished second at Columbia, reached semifinals of the Yale Invitational, and reached quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions. Since graduating, Malcolm has worked as an assistant coach at Strath Haven High School in Pennsylvania. Malcolm's students have championed the Bronx Round Robin, the Villiger invitational at St. Joseph's University, the Lexington Winter Invitational, and reached quarterfinals at the Tournament of Champions.
Jonathan Evans debated for four years at Stuyvesant High School, earning 4 bids to the Tournament of Champions. Jonathan reached semifinals at Blake and GMU and was top speaker at Harvard. Jonathan has also competed in British Parliamentary debate in college, reaching the finals of the Nottingham and Cornell IVs. Jonathan has continued to coach PF in the 4 years since he graduated from high school, and this year, Jonathan coached a team to elimination rounds at the TOC.
Anson Fung is a graduate of Rice University and has been a Strake Jesuit debate coach for the past four years. During those years, Anson has coached 27 Gold TOC bids and many, many Silver TOC bids. Anson debated in public forum for one year in high school and won the University of Texas tournament and placed third at TFA state.
Zachary Ginsberg debated for four years at Stuyvesant High School, serving as the president of the team in his senior year. He earned a total of 13 bids to the Tournament of Champions and finished his senior year ranked 1st in the nation. Zach reached semifinals or further at Blake, GMU, Ridge, Bronx, Scarsdale, Glenbrooks, and Princeton and was a top 5 speaker at Bronx, Harvard, and Columbia. Zach now attends Columbia University, where he has stayed involved in PF by coaching. This is Zach’s 3rd straight summer teaching at NSD!
Amala is a graduating senior at Hunter College High School and serves as the president of the debate team. Over 4 years, she has amassed 9 bids and one auto-qualification to the Tournament of Champions. She has reached semifinals at Harvard and Princeton, and has finaled at UPenn and Ridge. She also received a top 5 speaker award at Harvard, Princeton, Lexington, Ridge, and UK. She attended NSD as a student for the past two years and is excited to return this summer an instructor!
Zoë Kaufmann competed for Walt Whitman High School for 4 years and served as co-captain of the team her senior year. As a debater, she qualified to TOC her senior year, as well as reaching semis at Columbia and many outrounds at other tournaments. She received speaker awards at Columbia and other tournaments and was ranked as high as 38th nationally. As one of the few competitively successful female second speakers with a male partner, Zoë has made it a priority to mentor younger female debaters and lead team-wide discussions about discrimination in her role as team captain at Walt Whitman.
Ethan Kim is a graduating senior at Horace Mann School in New York, where he serves as a team president. He has qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice and has reached late elimination rounds at tournaments such as Columbia, Princeton, Bronx and Blake. He is also a 3-time qualifier to NSDA nationals, where he has placed as high as 14th. He attended NSD last summer as a student and is excited to be back as an instructor!
David Kinane competed for Unionville High School, where he served as the PF Captain. He has recieved 6 bids in his career, becoming the first debater in his school's history to attend the TOC, where he reached elimination rounds. Additionally, he reached quarterfinals at Emory and Upenn, semifinals at Lexington, and won Villiger. He also has experience in policy debate, where he finaled at Upenn his senior year. David is excited to coach at NSD this summer!
Grace Luckett debated for three years at The Packer Collegiate Institute, where she founded the school’s forensics program. Grace has reached outrounds at several major tournaments, and in her senior year, she qualified to the Tournament of Champions, reached quarterfinals of the NCFL Grand National Tournament, and co-championed the Lakeland Westchester Classic. Grace attended NSD as a student and is excited to return this summer as an instructor!
Sajan Mehrotra is a graduating senior at Horace Mann School in New York. He has qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice and reached late elimination rounds at a variety of national tournaments, including quarterfinals at Bronx and Blake. In addition, he was a top 10 speaker at Bronx, Blake, and Harvard. During his junior year, he placed 14th and received an autoqual at NSDA nationals. He attended NSD last summer as a student and is excited to be back as an instructor!
Cale McCrary is the head coach of Corona del Sol debate, and an assistant for the Quarry Lane and Brophy Prep debate programs. In his first two years as a coach, Cale has had multiple teams qualify to both the Tournament of Champions and NSDA Nationals, with tournament championships at the New York City Invitational, Golden Desert UNLV Tournament, and Millard North and Presentation Round Robins, and bids acquired at tournaments including The Glenbrooks, Yale Invitational, and Arizona State Invitational. Cale debated for Saint Mary’s Hall through 2016-2017, where he was consistently ranked in the top 30, with semi-final placements at TFA State & Grapevine.
Jake Ryan debated for Unionville High School for the past two years. In total, he acquired four bids to the TOC, becoming the first team from Unionville to clear the tournament. He reached late elimination rounds at several tournaments, including octafinals at Emory and Princeton, quarterfinals at UPenn, and championing Villiger. Jake was a student at NSD last summer and can't wait to return as a coach!
RJ competed in PF for four years at Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston, where he served as a co-captain his junior and senior years. He accumulated 6 bids to the TOC, while also reaching elimination rounds at Bellaire, Grapevine, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, Sunvitational, Texas, Emory, and TFA state. Most notably, he and his partner are the first Texas PF team to have qualified for the TOC in three consecutive years. RJ will be a freshman at Duke University in the fall and is excited to join NSD this summer.
Celia Silver competed for Princeton High School for 4 years. As a senior, she was the co-president and Public Forum captain of her team. She qualified for the TOC both her junior and senior years, and was ranked as high as 4th in the nation. She has quarterfinaled at Yale and Princeton, octafinaled at the TOC and competed in the Harvard Round Robin. This is Celia's second year coaching at NSD!
Katherine has competed in PF for Walt Whitman High School for the past 4 years, where she’s currently the president of the speech & debate team. She qualified for tournaments including the TOC, NSDA Nationals, and NCFL Grand Nationals. In addition to earning many speaker awards—including top speaker at the Columbia and Georgetown University tournaments, 2nd speaker at the New York City Invitational, and 6th speaker at the Barkley Forum—Katherine advanced to late outrounds at many national tournaments, such as quarterfinals at the New York City Invitational and semifinals at Valley Mid-America Cup. She looks forward to working at NSD this summer!
Gigi competed in Public Forum for four years at Evanston Township High School. Throughout her career, she semifinaled at Blake, championed Middleton, the Millard North Round Robin, and the Glenbrooks Round Robin, and qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice, reaching outrounds her senior year. Her individual accomplishments include top speaker at the Tournament of Champions, Mid-America Cup, Millard North, and the Glenbrooks Round Robin. Gigi will be a sophomore at Columbia University next year and she is very excited to work at NSD this summer!